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People Magazine"[A] powerful first novel . . . Byrd forges a riveting story that, in the end, is astonishingly uplifting."
—People (four stars)
A second grader from El Paso, Texas, he lies in a high hospital bed in the original Shriners Burns Institute in Galveston. He has third-degree burns over 63 percent of his small body and face, the result of his experiment with ...
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A second grader from El Paso, Texas, he lies in a high hospital bed in the original Shriners Burns Institute in Galveston. He has third-degree burns over 63 percent of his small body and face, the result of his experiment with gasoline from the lawn mower and a match.
But inside that burned body glows a steady spirit.
In this debut novel, set in such an unlikely place, a boy and his parents face the future—his and theirs. Riley's mother has been with him every day since a private plane brought them to Galveston immediately after the accident. His father comes for weekends when he can. The isolated hospital universe, the other children being treated there, Riley's mother's furious grief at her son's disfigurement, and his father's determined support are fictional creations informed by extraordinary knowledge, empathy, and skill.
But it is Riley himself who charms and twists the reader's heart—Riley, a boy so compelling in his innate boyness and buoyancy that his presence transforms the setting, the circumstances, the pain, the loss, even his own expectations.
He is one of those rare beings who embody the human spirit in the act of transcending reality. His story is, above all else, a reward.
Posted August 5, 2006
The book starts off a little slowly, but quickly picks up momentum. However, just when one begins to become really interested, and the characters really become well rounded, the story comes to a screeching halt. The ending is premature, rushed, and trite.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.